Thursday, June 20, 2019

I wondered what would happen if I didn’t give up: My Ultra Story

Yes so I have been MIA on training updates lately on the blog. If you are following me on Instagram though you know I am running more than I ever have before. I am actually on a run streak since January 1st and right now I have no desire to stop it! I am getting so much stronger and training so much better than ever before!

Last year I was signed up to run the Black Mountain Monster 6 Hour Endurance Run. Due to extreme weather conditions the race was postponed to another weekend and I was unable to make it work so I deferred to this year. I also switched to the 12 Hour Run.

For a while I was not sure what I was thinking. Actually to be honest I really wasn’t thinking.  I could not quite comprehend what running for 12 hours would be like. The longest I had run before was around 6 hours.

Since running my first Marathon in April 2018 I have had a hunger for more. A fire within me burns for long distance running.

Following my first marathon I attempted my first 50K but the weather conditions stood in the way of me meeting my goal. I then went back to that same race this year to handle my unfinished business but my own health conditions stood in the way of me meeting my goal. In between these two I did complete a 40K trail run and completed my second marathon but I really wanted the ultra!

As I tend to do sometimes, I began to really over think things. Was I really cut out for ultra-running? Trails are so much different that roads. They are harder for me. But oh man I love being on the trail!

I was also kind of nervous because while I deferred my Black Mountain Monster entry from last year to this year my friends Kim and John did not. The schedule change did not affect them and they were able to still run it last year. I thought I would be training for it this year and running it this year on my own.

I was so wrong! My running friends are the absolute best friends and they decided that they would train with me and pace me at the end of the race. John also registered for the 24 Hour!! I was so relieved. Training for that solo would have been daunting.

I found myself feeling pretty super superstitious about this 50K attempt.

Leading up to most of my big running events I share my weekly recap of my training on the blog and while I felt it was very beneficial as I trained to log my training, it really helped me recognize areas for improvement, cycles in my training and helped keep me accountable, I elected not to do that for this ultra. 

I thought what if I share all the details again and again fail. 

Leading up to most races I post what I am training for on all my social channels and am typically very vocal about what it is I am working towards. I was not as vocal this time about what I was up to.

I thought what if I share all the details again and again fail. 

I typically lay out a flat me before a race and share to my socials as I get pumped up for the event, I did this on both my previous 50K attempts. 

I thought what if I share all the details again and again fail. 

Worst of all, both times before I bought something that said “Ultra” that I planned to display after the ultra, first time a magnet for my car, then the second attempt a T-shirt…. Ooops. 

This time, for this attempt, I did NONE of that!  I did not want to jinx it like I felt I had both times before.  

I decided for this event to lay low, to keep my training details limited to an instagram and twitter post about the Run Streak and not really mention my next race. 

If you are interested in my training plan that I followed I am happy to share it. My plan served me well. I did modify as needed but tried to be sure to hit the long runs. It was especially beneficial to run every day. I varied intensity and workouts and the consistency paid off!

This is my quick recap in pictures:

My goal for this race was to FINALLY get my 50K after those two previous failed attempts. 

The week leading up to the race I had this calm about me. I was free of all the self inflicted pressure I normally feel before a race. The weather was forecasted to be horrible and even that didn’t bother me. I decided to let this race be a celebration of all the hard work I had put in so far this year. I decided that even if I only got to mile seven it would be a super cool seven mile run on a new course!

By Friday, however, the gitters set in. All day I would randomly feel a surge of nervousness when I would think about being at the “race”. I tried over and over to tell myself that for me this was a long run with lots of trail friends. I wasn’t racing. Racing stresses me out!! I planned to start off toward the back, start off slow and just not let my adrenaline push me out too fast whereas I would crash and burn quick! I needed to start at a pace I could maintain all day long. Thoughts of being passed, being left in the dust also start to creep in. I am for sure going to be passed, I am not an elite athlete lol! I am a mid pack runner and faster runners will pass me. Never the less, if I let them, those feelings can quickly turn to a feeling of defeat. I know that when I'm out there at the race being passed actually does not bother me as much as the anticipation of being passed in the days leading up to the race does. I eventually found some comic relief… I decided that as I was passed, since the race was a 3.125 mile loop, I would say “See you around!” to those runners.

Hahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahaha I laughed about this so hard Friday night, I found myself Comedy Central worthy. I mean that is hysterical. I was seriously cracking up!!! Get it??? The course is a loop… You know that goes around and around….. So "See you around".... Hahahahaha!!!

Ok so maybe it was only funny to me but man it pushed all angst over the edge and I was no longer worried about anything!  

This relief cleared the way for the best question to settle in. I suddenly found myself wondering what would happen if I didn’t give up!

My goal was the 50K. I kind of thought I would run until I got to the 50K and then just be done. Last minute Kim, one of my training partners, tossed out the suggestion that I could probably get 40-41 miles. Hahahaha, more comic relief… Except that what if she was right?? I decided that I would give myself two goals. My target goal would be the 50K and my stretch goal could be 40 miles. 

I planned to show up and give my full ten hours to this event and love the celebration of my months of dedication and hard work!

I will be sharing next a full recap of the race but I will give you a spoiler:

I did not give up, I did say “see you around” a time or two, I had an AMAZING time, I met my target goal of the 50K, I met my stretch goal of 40 miles, I even exceeded that!! My official results were 44.75 miles in 11:34:58. I actually completed the full last loop after the 12 hour cut off for a total of 46.875 miles in 12:23:02!!

I finished 6th Female in the 12 Hour out of 33 women and 17th overall out of 71 people. I was blown away!!! I can not believe it! I am soooo proud and so happy!! I had an amazing experience. I can not wait to share all the rest of the details of this event!! 

To be continued...

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